Thursday, August 25, 2005

What do you call ...

From Garner's Usage Tip of the Day (click here to subscribe)


Loose guidelines do exist for naming denizens. George R. Stewart, a historian, developed seven guidelines that H.L. Mencken called "Stewart's Laws of Municipal Onomastics." They were cited in the best up-to-date work on this subject, Paul Dickson's Labels for Locals (1997): (1) if the place name ends in "-a" or "-ia," add "-n" (Alaska, Alaskan) (California, Californian); (2) if the name ends in "-i" or a sounded "-e," add "-an" (Hawaii, Hawaiian) (Albuquerque, Albuquerquean); (3) if the name ends in "-on," add "-ian" (Oregon, Oregonian); (4) if the name ends in "-y," change the "-y" to an "-i" and add "-an" (Albany, Albanian); (5) if the name ends in "-o," add "-an" (Chicago, Chicagoan); (6) if the name ends in a consonant or a silent "-e," add either "-ite" or "-er," depending on euphony (Maine, Mainer) (New Hampshire, New Hampshireite); (7) if the name ends in "-polis," change that to "-politan" (Minneapolis, Minneapolitan).


A new edition of Labels for Locals is due out soon from HarperCollins!